Analyzing Events: Carlotta’s Journey | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G8:M3B:U2:L10

Analyzing Events: Carlotta’s Journey

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can cite text-based evidence that provides the strongest support for an analysis of literary text. (RI.8.1)
  • I can analyze how specific dialogue or incidents in a plot propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision. (RL.8.3)

Supporting Targets

  • I can use evidence from A Mighty Long Way to support my understanding of the text and the desegregation of schools in the South.
  • I can analyze how incidents in A Mighty Long Way propel the action and reveal aspects of Carlotta's character.

Ongoing Assessment

  • A Mighty Long Way Structured Notes, Chapter 10, pages 173-191 (from homework)
  • Carlotta's journey text-dependent questions
  • Gathering Evidence note-catcher


AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

     A.  Reviewing Learning Targets (2 minutes)

2.  Work Time

     A.  Chalk Talk: Carlotta's Journey (23 minutes)

     B.  Checking in on Independent Reading (15 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

     A.  Debrief Learning Targets and Previewing Homework (5 minutes)

4.  Homework

     A.  Read Chapter 11 in A Mighty Long Way and complete the structured notes.

     B.  Update the Gathering Evidence note-catcher.

  • In this lesson, students return to A Mighty Long Way to consider Carlotta's character and what it takes for her to continue her journey despite fear and bullying. In Chapter 10 of the book, her home is bombed with her family inside it; her father is held for "questioning," blamed for the bombing, and then cleared of the crime; and two young black men are arrested for the bombing, even though they are innocent. Carlotta becomes more dedicated to finishing Central High as a result.
  • Students participate in a Chalk Talk in this lesson to continue their analysis of Carlotta's journey.  A Chalk Talk Teacher Guide, similar to a Close Reading Guide, is provided in the supporting materials in this lesson to support the use of this protocol for students to respond to text-dependent questions. 
  • In advance:

-   Preview the Chalk Talk Teacher Guide to envision work time.

-   Prepare chart paper for the Chalk Talk in Work Time A. On separate pieces of chart paper, write each of the following questions and post them around the classroom (If you have a big class, consider posting two of each question around the classroom so all students can easily access them.):

  • What people, events, and/or character traits gave Carlotta strength in facing extreme adversity and bullying?
  • On page 189, Carlotta writes, "this was the South, where a black man taken from his home in the middle of the night by whites--even the police, even the FBI--could face unthinkable horror." Why would this be the case?
  • Why is Carlotta so determined to achieve her goal of graduating from Central High School?
  • Review Chalk Talk protocol; Whip-around protocol (see Appendix).


  • Chart paper with questions (new; teacher-created; see Teaching Notes)
  • Journey to Justice note-catcher (from Unit 1, Lesson 3)
  • Markers (one per student)
  • Chalk Talk Teacher Guide: Carlotta's Journey (for teacher reference)
  • Carlotta's journey text-dependent questions (one per student)
  • Document camera
  • Gathering Evidence note-catcher (begun in Lesson 7)
  • A Mighty Long Way Structured Notes, Chapter 11, pages 192-199 (one per student)
  • A Mighty Long Way Supported Structured Notes, Chapter 11, pages 192-199 (optional; for students needing extra support)
  • A Mighty Long Way Structured Notes Teacher's Guide, Chapter 11, pages 192-199 (for teacher reference)



A. Reviewing Learning Targets (2 minutes)

  • Explain to students that they will continue their analysis of the events in Carlotta's life and how they led her on her journey.
  • Read the learning targets aloud:

*   "I can use evidence from A Mighty Long Way to support my understanding of the text and the desegregation of schools in the South."

*   "I can analyze how incidents in A Mighty Long Way propel the action and reveal aspects of Carlotta's character."

  • Ask students to predict which graphic organizer they will need in order to meet the learning targets for today. 
  • Give them a few seconds to think, then cold call on a student.  Listen for him to say "We need our Journey to Justice note-catchers because we'll be analyzing Carlotta's journey."

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Chalk Talk: Carlotta's Journey (23 minutes)

  • Explain that in this lesson, students will be answering text-dependent questions in a way that is different from what they have done before; they will use a Chalk Talk protocol. 
  • Direct students' attention to the posted chart paper with questions.
  • Invite students to retrieve their Journey to Justice note-catchers and distribute one marker per student.
  • For this part of the lesson, use the Chalk Talk Teacher Guide: Carlotta's Journey to guide students through a Chalk Talk and the Carlotta's journey text-dependent questions related to Chapter 10 in A Mighty Long Way.
  • Chalk Talk provides a whole group space for all students to share their thoughts, ask questions, and respond. It supports students who need more time to process information as well as students who are less likely to participate in whole group discussions.

B. Checking in on Independent Reading (15 minutes)

  • Use this time for an independent reading check-in, using whichever routine you have established with your class. For ideas, see the stand-alone document on Launching Independent Reading in Grades 6-8: Sample Plan. Remember that in this time:
  • Students need time to talk with a peer about their book.
  • You need a chance to confer with students about their reading (you will confer with a few each time, working your way through a class over several weeks).
  • Consider inviting coordinating service providers to your class to check in with students who need more reading support. This is an opportunity to ensure that students comprehend their independent reading and monitor their progress.

Closing & Assessments


A. Debrief Learning Target and Previewing Homework (5 minutes)

  • Invite students to retrieve their Journey to Justice note-catcherand display one using a document camera.
  • Tell students that they will be doing a Whip-around related to the second learning target:

-   "I can analyze how incidents in A Mighty Long Way propel the action and reveal aspects of Carlotta's character."

  • Ask students to name one event that has shaped Carlotta's journey since the meeting with Superintendent Blossom before Carlotta's first day of school at Central. Remind them that she is now in her senior year.  As students share, prompt other students to add to stage 2 of their Journey to Justice note-catcher, while also adding to the projected note-catcher. 
  • Distribute A Mighty Long Way structured notes, Chapter 11, pages 192-199 for homework.
  • Point out that this chapter is relatively short compared to the other chapters students have read in the book. For homework, they should also update their Gathering Evidence note-catchers with examples of how mediums of communication shaped the story of the desegregation of schools in A Mighty Long Way, beginning on page 113.
  • Inform students that the mid-unit assessment will take place in the next lesson.


HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs
  • Read Chapter 11, pages 192-199 in A Mighty Long Way and complete the structured notes.
  • Update the Gathering Evidence note-catcher.

Note: The Gallery Walk in Lesson 11 will take longer than typical to set up. Plan accordingly; see Lesson 11 teaching notes.

  • Provide struggling learners with the supported structured notes for additional scaffolding as they read the memoir.

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